Progressives talk a great deal about privilege, and it’s a concept worth exploring. But it’s a concept worth exploring fully. At elite levels of American society there exists a very real progressive peer privilege. It doesn’t attach to the broader Democratic public. It doesn’t attach to the average black man or woman on the street. It doesn’t attach to the average Hispanic or Asian immigrant. But once you break into the academy, the boardroom, or the newsroom, then you are in.
The ramifications extend far beyond political double standards. Why did it take so long for the #MeToo revelations to burst onto the American scene? There’s no single reason, but the power of the peer bond contributed to the conspiracy of silence. Why are people often so blind to their own biases? It’s hard to see your own flaws and mistakes when basking in peer praise or uniting in bonds of friendship to oppose the out-group.
Time and again, conservatives fight cultural battles — against, say, progressive corporate censorship — that were truly lost a generation ago. They were lost in the admissions committees and internship programs that don’t just define the new generation of leaders, they forge powerful friendships. They create shared purpose.